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The Spinoff reviews New Zealand #9: Uber Eats

We review the entire country and culture of New Zealand, one thing at a time. Today: Madeleine Chapman reviews food delivery service Uber Eats.

The simple concept of Uber Eats makes you immediately wonder ‘do we really need this?’ An Uber service that delivers very specific food to your door. Seems unnecessary. Before we get started, this is not a review of Uber as an ethical company, just a review of the service we received when we ordered some popcorn fried steak and onion rings from Marvel Grill and got it delivered.

All I wanted was KFC for lunch. But there’s no KFC near our office and, as we all know too well, they don’t deliver.

“Just use Uber Eats,” someone said, in a tone that suggested this would solve my KFC problem.

Could it be true? Had an app been invented that would enhance my life more than any app ever had? I started to imagine being at home, watching a full season of TV in one day, and hearing a knock at the door. Is it a courier? A man serving me papers? No, it’s a Wicked Wing snack box, making my dreams come true.

I had these visions in my mind as I downloaded the app and saw there were very few food options for delivery. KFC and 99% of Auckland’s food outlets weren’t available. After browsing every category for way too long, I ordered some popcorn fried steak (the closest thing to popcorn chicken) and onion rings from Marvel Grill, a place I’ve never heard of. At $26 all up, it’s more than I’d usually spend on lunch but the flat delivery rate of $6 is actually pretty good.

The app allows you to track your order and said delivery was estimated at 50-55 minutes. Sorry, what? Probably could’ve walked to Marvel Grill and gotten the food faster. I say that without knowing where Marvel Grill is because that’s how long an hour is.

My mood was dark until 20 minutes later when I got a call from an unknown number saying they’d be outside in 30 seconds. Forty minutes early! Either they grossly underestimated the speed of the Marvel Grill chefs, or they grossly overestimated how busy Uber Eats would be on its first day. Whatever the reason, I gleefully sprinted the steps, out onto the street, and received my food through the passenger window like a poorly executed drug deal.

Back in the office, the food was still hot (would be weird if it was somehow cold 20 minutes after I ordered), and I was only a little sweaty from sprinting back up the stairs in excitement. A job well done, but it was no wicked wing snack box. /Madeleine Chapman

Good or bad? Somehow very much both.

Verdict: Execution was great but needs a lot more variety to be sustainable.


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